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French withdrawal from Mali: Emmanuel Macron brings together the partner countries, a decision expected “quickly”

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Emmanuel Macron will bring together this Wednesday evening at the Elysee Palace “the heads of state of the partner countries” to discuss the French presence in the Sahel and in particular in Mali, within the framework of the fight against terrorism.

Announcements “will then be made quickly,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal, as Paris and its European partners prepare to act on their withdrawal from Mali, while preparing the outlines of the future French regional military system.

The status quo is “not possible in a very degraded context in Mali, with the seizure of power by a junta, the refusal to apply a timetable for the return to democratic order which had nevertheless been announced and the recourse to a Russian private militia”, underlined Gabriel Attal at the end of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday.

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Decision imminent

“It is not a Franco-Malian subject (…) We have Europeanized our presence in the Sahel with the support of a dozen European countries which have come to join us”, he specified.

President Emmanuel Macron could announce the withdrawal of French forces from Mali this Wednesday evening or Thursday, on the sidelines of a European Union – African Union summit scheduled for Brussels.

Symbol of a Europe of defense dear to the French president, the European group of special forces Takuba, initiated by Paris in 2020 to share the security burden, should also leave the country.

Relations have worsened in recent weeks between France and the Malian military junta, in power since May 2021. On January 31, the authorities expelled the French ambassador from the country.

President Emmanuel Macron announced in June 2021 the end of the anti-jihadist operation Barkhane in favor of an “operation of support, support and cooperation with the armies of the countries of the region which wish it”.

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